Rockhounding New Mexico – Popular Sites and Gems

The New Mexico state of rock-hounding is a popular location for anybody who enjoys discovering ancient rocks. It is possible to find everything from quartz specimens to clear diamonds and even meteorites! The state of New Mexico should be added to your bucket list if you’re a rock hound looking for new areas to explore.

This southwestern state boasts a diverse range of rocks and minerals that can be discovered, ranging from the common (such as quartz) to the uncommon (such as feldspar) (like amethyst). It is worthwhile to travel to New Mexico if you are interested in rock-hounding for pleasure or business.

If you enjoy rock collecting, you’ll enjoy exploring the rock-hounding options available in New Mexico, which are many. If you’re looking for some gorgeous and unusual rocks to add to your collection, there are a plethora of locations to choose from. The state of New Mexico is a fantastic area to explore whether you’re a novice or an expert rockhound.

What Is Rock-Hounding, and How Do You Get Started?

Rockhounding is the exploration of the earth in search of unusual rocks and minerals. It may be a fun and thrilling activity, but it is not without its challenges!

There are various sites where you may go hunting for these riches in hiding, like your local park or nature preserve, if there is one nearby. Sometimes they’re almost on top of one other, waiting until someone discovers them first (which generally doesn’t take very long).

The most effective method, in my opinion, would include traveling to some distant locations, such as New Mexico, where there is nothing but nature to be found, and engaging in a great deal more trekking than most people are comfortable with.


Where Can You Locate Rocks in New Mexico?

Visitors to New Mexico interested in rock-hounding are likely to be taken aback by the wide variety of minerals accessible to the serious collector. Most states may have a dozen or more publicly accessible sites where you may go for a walk and see if you can locate something interesting.

Check out some of the greatest that you’ll be able to locate, places that are sure to enhance your collection in a variety of exciting ways:

1. Rockhounding State Park:

Rockhounding State Park
Rockhounding State Park

Although there have been assertions to the contrary, the park has indeed been picked through very thoroughly. It’s well worth a visit, but don’t anticipate it to live up to its illustrious reputation.

The most notable findings in this area are jasper and tiny, spherical “thundereggs,” a kind of meteorite. However, most of the prominent veins have already been mined out at this time, making it less appealing to casual collectors who are looking for a quick buck.

Perlite is still widely available, so if that’s something you’re interested in, it’s well worth a try. Some beautiful pieces are available for those who are only interested in minerals. Still, if you are interested in working with stones or discovering the genuinely unusual formations that exist, you will be disappointed with the selection available.

There are still groups of people that go out into the field and come back with some very amazing specimens. While it will take effort and time to pry the minerals and stones from the ground, if you’re a casual collector, you’re unlikely to be pleased with the circumstances and expertise necessary to make the trip wonderful truly.

It is possible, though, that individuals who are willing to get their hands dirty and dig for treasure will be successful, and those who have a keen eye will almost certainly come across something.

2. Gila Fluorspar Mine District:

Gila Fluorspar Mine District
Gila Fluorspar Mine District

There are several historic abandoned fluorspar mines in Gila, New Mexico, near Silver City, situated on public property owned by the Gila National Forest.

Numerous of these abandoned mine locations provide rockhounds with the opportunity to acquire fluorite specimens. You can get to these historic mines and possibilities by traveling north on Turkey Creek Road, which runs north of the town of Gila.

This route leaves the valley base and begins to rise into the hills, passing a variety of abandoned mines and prospecting sites that provide a panoramic view of the town below. A large number of them are observable from the highway.

There are several mines in the Gila National Forest open for gathering. Ensure that you take all necessary measures, as abandoned mines are extremely dangerous. Move gently, and take it easy.

Investigate the possibility of digging and scouring in abandoned mine tailings or visible cuttings in the hillside. If you are looking for fluorite, a map from the United States Forest Service or the United States Geological Survey can show you many of the sites of these ancient mines and maybe an invaluable aid.

3. Grant County:

Grant County
Grant County

In New Mexico, Grant County is located in the heart of the mineralized patch that is the state’s most prominent feature. Numerous mines, ancient shafts, and quarries have been discovered in this area, where stones have been extracted from the earth by hand.

It is not permitted to access the ancient mines. Their use is risky, and even for people who are well-versed on the subject, negative things might happen in a short period. Support timbers can decay, there are gases beneath the earth that can be lethal, and a slip down a vertical shaft can swiftly destroy anyone’s day in a matter of seconds.

Instead, you’ll want to seek the mine’s tailings, which may be found in the surrounding area. Tailings are often considered to be waste material. Minerals are found in huge formations worldwide, and it is still enough for collectors and amateurs to discover.

Almost all of the land in this region is accessible to the public, and you are welcome to collect as much as you like. In other words, while entering the mines is not a good idea, and most of the ancient ones are already closed, examining the area surrounding them might yield some wonderful specimens.

Turquoise, Fluorspar, Perlite, hematite, and a variety of other minerals may be found in this area, among other things. Looking at the ground is the most effective approach to deciding where to go. If you’re thorough in your investigation, you’ll be able to discover an utterly baffling array of minerals in the region if you’re lucky.

Examine the tailings to determine your best bets. This material is certain to contain still specimens that collectors will find to be spectacular, but, to be honest, the entire region is pretty well brimming with mineral specimens.

It is mostly accessible to the general public also means an incredible amount of rock-hounding in this region.

You should make this your first trip if you’re seeking to go rock-hounding in the state of New Mexico; anything else is simply frosting on the cake!

4. Gloritetta Mountain:

Gloritetta Mountain
Gloritetta Mountain

Gloritetta Mountain is one of the most productive meteorite-hunting grounds in the United States. These little nodules that fall from the sky have a particular place in the hearts of many people who have witnessed them.

Even individuals who are not ordinarily interested in rocks and minerals are drawn to them by the beauty of the stones and minerals.

You’ll need a decent metal detector for this to work, which can be purchased online. The high iron concentration of these heavenly minerals makes them rather simple to discover. Still, you’ll likely have to sift through a huge quantity of ground before you come across anything truly remarkable in terms of beauty.

Give it a go, though; it’s a refreshing change from your typical routine, and you’ll be sure to have a nice time whether or not you end up adding a meteorite to your catalog as a result of your efforts.

5. Shakespeare Ghost Town:

Shakespeare Ghost Town
Shakespeare Ghost Town

Shakespeare is a ghost town located south of Lordsburg, New Mexico, that dates back to the late 1800s. It was formerly a prosperous mining town in its prime. Old mines may be found sprinkled throughout the hills immediately west of Shakespeare.

It is believed that Azurite, Malachite, and Chrysocolla can be found in abundance in the mines despite little information about the mines’ particular location and operations.

In this case, a USGS map will again pinpoint the abandoned mines’ sites. Try to locate locations where there has been recent digging activity if you are unsure where to begin your search. It should be noted that there are currently active private land mining operations taking place in the region.

It is essential to have a GPS or map to guarantee that you are on public grounds. Although careful planning is required, the area provides an excellent opportunity to see some quite uncommon species!


What Type of Rocks can you find in New Mexico?

If you ever find yourself traveling through New Mexico, you’ll most likely come across a variety of rocks on the side of the road. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the more common types of rocks that can be found in New Mexico, as well as some of their characteristics.

1. Peridot:

Peridot
Peridot

Peridot is a kind of Olivine that is of gem grade. It generates lovely transparent olive green gems ideally suited for faceting and jewelry-making applications. Peridot is only available in a restricted number of locations across the world.

The majority of commercial peridot mining in the United States takes place on a small reservation in the neighboring state of Arizona. With its abundance of peridot resources, New Mexico is one of the few places in the world where the general public may go to pick gem-quality peridot.

The gem is most frequently discovered in New Mexico basalt flows. Volcanic activity causes the Olivine to be expelled from under the earth’s surface. The basalt that forms due to this cooling is magma, although not every flow contains peridot. They’re still the greatest place to start if you’re getting into rock-hounding.

2. Azurite:

As the name implies, azurite is most recognized for its deep blue “azure” hue, which appears to resemble the deep blue sunset hour sky of the desert southwest.

Azurite is a secondary formation when mineral-laden fluids penetrate copper ore deposits and residue. Due to the reaction, the azurite crystals are formed in various attractive and diverse forms and hues.

Most of the time, it’s discovered in modest quantities alongside copper ore. Azurite is a reactive and slightly unstable mineral, at least when compared to most collectible minerals.

When exposed to high temperatures or high humidity, the surfaces of malachite can wear away, leaving just “plain” malachite behind. Highly valuable samples are not shown on the mantle shelf but are kept in climate- and light-controlled environments free of changes.

3. Fossils from the state of New Mexico:

Fossils from the state of New Mexico
Fossils from the state of New Mexico

New Mexico has a lot of uncovered sedimentary rock, and with it comes a lot of fossilized organisms. Collectors cherish them since they are easy to get by and because some of them are international.

Keeping in mind is that it is against the legislation to collect any “vertebrate-life” artifacts in the state. Any vertebrate discoveries, such as dinosaur bones or bony fish, become the government’s property, and collecting them is subject to severe fines.

In contrast, it can own and display invertebrate fossils in New Mexico. You’re seeking sedimentary rock layers, like limestone, that have formed throughout time. In many situations, you may find these rocks on public land and then look for fossils in them after they have been discovered.

Invertebrate fossils may be found all across the state; however, some places are more concentrated than others. Depending on where you live, local restrictions may differ and prohibit the acquisition of fossils in some regions.

4. Petrified Wood:

Petrified wood is formed due to the substitution of wood for stone in ancient strata of rock. Typically, a silica-based material is used to fill the void produced. The most widely sought-after specimens are generally replaced by agate or Opal, which are less expensive alternatives.

The ultimate product is typically a limb-cast, in which the outside of the stone seems to be quite similar to the wood that it has been used to replace. Unlike some brilliant and colorful, like the agatized conifer wood in Arizona, typical petrified wood is usually a dark brown or black tint.

Even though its distribution in New Mexico might be solitary and spotty, it is found in nearly every state region. Collectors will find plenty of material in the hills and stream bottoms of New Mexico; but, there isn’t a big concentration of material like the Petrified Forest of Arizona.

5. Fluorite:

Fluorite
Fluorite

Fluorite, currently regarded as a stunning gemstone, was originally mined long before it became popular as a gemstone because its mineral compound, Fluorspar, is a widely utilized component in industrial manufacture.

Fluorspar mining operations on an industrial scale were once common in New Mexico, and the state was known as “Fluorspar Country.” Currently, there are many old mines in western New Mexico, with many of them being located on public property.

That’s great news for collectors everywhere! Fluorite is easily distinguished from other minerals due to its distinctive geometric structure. A crystal with eight sides is formed by this material, which is the only mineral found that creates four perfect cleavage paths in a single crystal.

Fluorite may be found in various colors, including white, pink, and blue. Purples, greens, and blue are the primary colors that are most typically used. That’s merely the beginning; this specific mineral is a treasure trove of many colors.

This gemstone is credited with giving rise to the word “fluorescence.” It was recognized early on that fluorite glows with a blue-violet tint when exposed to ultraviolet light due to its composition.

6. Pecos Diamonds:

Pecos Diamonds, resembling Herkimer Diamonds, contain quartz crystals with two ends that are doubly terminated. Unfortunately, diamonds were not involved in this sad turn of events.

The hue of these diamonds is different from that of Herkimer Diamonds. They’re normally opaque and come in various colors ranging from off-white to rusty crimson. Some of the specimens may include purple tints, albeit not nearly to the extent of amethyst.

These formations are only found in the Pecos Valley Region in southwest New Mexico, and they are rather rare. They develop in the gypsum deposits of ancient buildings. The eroding gypsum leaves sporadic outcrops of “Pecos Diamonds” throughout the Pecos River Valley once the soft gypsum is eroded.

Because these rare and precious specimens are exclusively discovered in New Mexico, they are a popular choice among crystal lovers throughout.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Where can I go gem-digging in the state of New Mexico?

This New Mexico state park is situated 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Deming and is the state park for the Rockhound River. It was given this name because of the number of minerals found in the region, and tourists may hunt for quartz, geodes, perlite, jasper, and a variety of other minerals while they are there.

Is it possible to discover geodes in New Mexico?

There is only one state park in New Mexico that allows people to take something out of the park: Rockhound State Park nearby Deming. Geodes, thundereggs, pearlite, and quartz are among the other minerals found in the park.

Where can you locate agates in the state of New Mexico?

Some locations in New Mexico do provide the opportunity to locate fire agate, which is a kind of quartz. Although it may be seen in places like Chichen Itza Caverns and other locations, such formations are still new. They were created during the previous few million years; thus, they are quite recent.

Where can I find the stones in New Mexico?

The Magdalena Mountains, near Socorro, in central New Mexico, is home to the world’s most lucrative rock and mineral mining locations. This location produced a large number of lead ores, as well as some excellent smithsonite!

Is Opal found in the state of New Mexico?

Ordinary Opal has been discovered at the Rockhound State Park in New Mexico, around seven miles from Deming, even though it is found in exceedingly small amounts. Also abundant are the quartz crystals and agate discovered in this area.

What is the source of all this turquoise in New Mexico?

Many pieces of Cerrillos turquoise for private and commercial use have been discovered in the prehistoric remains of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. They have been identified as being from the Cerrillos region. It wasn’t until the 1870s that the Cerrillos mine gained widespread attention due to a silver mining boom that the Pueblo peoples could continue extracting turquoise from it.


Wrapping it Up:

A visit to the rock-hounding locations in New Mexico is a sight to behold. As a result of the wide variety of geological formations available, you are certain to come across something that will excite and astonish you, if not completely enchant you. It’s important to wear sturdy shoes if you’re interested in any of these rocks or minerals since they may become highly slippery when wet.

So, go ahead and join in with all of the other geologists who have already made their way out to this location. I hope this blog post has been beneficial for anybody considering traveling to a remote location to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty!

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